Average Apple Device Lifespan Estimated at Just Over Four Years by Analyst

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Asymco analyst Horace Dediu this week shared new research that focuses on determining the average lifespan of Apple devices. Dediu's research doesn't break down data on a specific product level, but instead encompasses Apple's entire stable of products in one general lifespan average. According to Dediu's proposal, if you use the number of active devices and cumulative devices sold, you can get to the average lifespan (via The Next Web).


    Dediu's research on this topic was propelled forward when Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the total number of active Apple devices -- 1.3 billion worldwide -- during the company's most recent earnings call. Now, the analyst proposed that to determine the average lifespan, you can subtract the known active devices number from cumulative devices sold to determine "cumulative retired devices."

    Dediu then said that to estimate the average lifespan, you calculate the time between "cumulative devices sold" at the beginning of a product's lifespan, and the current "cumulative retired devices." He ultimately determined that the average Apple device lifespan is about 4 years and three months, when looking at the data of Apple products sold in Q2 2013 and retired in Q4 2017, a time when the 2013 devices died or otherwise stopped working and their owners sought to purchase new versions.


    Dediu gave a detailed breakdown of his calculations:
    He noted that cumulative devices sold for Apple includes Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and the iPod touch, although of course the lifespan average number is just that -- an average -- and doesn't perfectly apply to each individual product. Just over four years is likely in the ballpark for how long Mac users keep around their computers, but if looked at on a product-by-product basis that statistic would likely be different for iPhone and Apple Watch owners.

    For more details on the topic, check out Dediu's full post on Asymco.com.

    Article Link: Average Apple Device Lifespan Estimated at Just Over Four Years by Analyst
  2. itsmilo macrumors 68020


    Sep 15, 2016
    My MacBook Pro from Late 2012 still runs like on its first day.

    My first gen Apple Watch on the other hand was dead on arrival (so slow, Steve Jobs would have never allowed it)
  3. CerebralX macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2013
    Looking for a place of freedom and rationality
    Is this why my 2008 iMac worked fine until it finally broke last year at the age of 9 years?
  4. StrangeNoises macrumors member


    Jul 21, 2011
    Speaking for myself, when a Mac is no longer supported by the latest MacOS it gets Linux put on it, and may then "enjoy" a pretty long second life, or semi-retirement maybe, as a small server. But presumably would not then count as "active".

    Although having said that I can't even get latest-Ubuntu on my 1st gen Mac Mini any more :-( Other linuxes may be possible but I think honestly it's gone beyond my ability to care enough to do it, when it's slower than the raspberry pi i now have doing those sorts of jobs.

    Doesn't apply to iOS devices of course.
  5. appahappa macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2010
    What about other brands? Can't imagine that Samsung phones run much longer after they stop updating software after one year.
  6. bcwmr macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2010
    This explains the lack of a new mac mini. My 2012 machine is going to push the averages up as there is no realistic upgrade path. Well played Apple.
  7. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    There’s a few exceptions, but for the most part, Apple products fare better than competitor products, specially in software updates (just ignore iOS 11, though :D).
  8. iTuna macrumors newbie


    Feb 11, 2017
    My 2008 Mac Pro and 2010 MacBook Pro are both still highly functional, as are my 2003 iPod photo and 2009 iPod Touch.
    Only thing I replace every year is my iPhone.
  9. recoil80 macrumors 68020

    Jul 16, 2014
    My iPhone 4, bought in August 2010, is now in a drawer but after I used it I passed to my father, then my mother until fall 2017, so about 7 years. She's now using my old iPhone 5 bought in 2013, so about 5 years ago.
    The life span of a Mac is much longer, my in laws are using my old mid 2009 MBP and my aunt is using my mid 2012 MBA. I'd say a Mac can have at least 10 years of life before becoming almost useless.
  10. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    My Mac mini is five years old. I didn't plan to keep it so long but Apple have failed to release a suitable replacement.
  11. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    MBP Classic? Same here...epic,battery life, still runs like a champ.
  12. Hodar1 macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2011
    In the middle of the Rocky Mountains, for now.
    My Mac 2012 Mini is faster today, than it was when released. Futher, it's faster than the newest Mini Apple sells.
    I simply went to Amazon and upgraded the RAM to 16 Gb, then added a SSD drive.
    Pity, the new Macs all solder down the ram, and make it such that you can't do "upgrades" to your Mac. Until this changes, I'll just stick with the oldies (but goodies).
  13. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Sorry but I gotta call BS on this article. I know this is anecdotal but I have yet to see a Mac last less than 6 years, most are 8+.

    Not only have mine all lasted well to the 10 year mark, but my parents Macs have lasted at least 8 years. as have my friends, the offices I used to support in my IT days, and my current work Macs (one is 11 years old).

    iPads and iPhones are going to obviously have less life because mobile technology today is where computers were in the 90s, lots of advancements really quickly so of course those will have less of a lifespan.
  14. frocco macrumors 6502


    Jan 27, 2009
    My Macbook Pro is 6 years old and still going strong. Had apple check the battery and no issues.
  15. Xavier macrumors 68030

    Mar 23, 2006
    This doesn't mean that your device is useless after this time.

    All of my Apple devices have lasted longer than 5 years. My 2007 MacBook Pro 17" still works, although that one might need to be retired soon. It's not much better than an iPad at this point.
  16. itsmilo macrumors 68020


    Sep 15, 2016
    No one of the first retinas.
  17. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    Apple knows exactly how many of its devices are still in use (if they connect to the internet). I can't see the point of this research. Seems like a total waste of time.
  18. Thomas Harte macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2005
    Such as I can recall:
    • my 2001 PowerBook died somewhere around 2007 due to some sort of power issue;
    • my 2006 MacBook Pro was still running flawlessly when retired in 2010;
    • my 2010 iMac ceased to be in my possession in 2012 but is still running flawlessly such as I'm aware;
    • a work 2012 MacBook Pro suffered a logic board failure in 2012;
    • my 2011 MacBook Air is still running flawlessly;
    • my 2015 Retina MacBook appears to be in the process of suffering a logic board failure;
    • a work 2015 MacBook Pro was still working when I left that firm despite having been dropped down a flight of stairs;
    • my first-generation and fourth-generaion iPods still work fine (though the battery life on the former is down to only about an hour);
    • my iPad 1 and iPad 3 still work perfectly well in hardware terms;
    • my iPad 4 suffered a logic board failure back in 2015 or 2016;
    • I have never had an iPhone fail on me, but they've all been provided by work so I've tended not to keep them for as long — I've had every one from the 3G through to the 6s;
    • I have had various iMacs at work, usually each for a couple of years or so, and none has ever failed.
  19. Hodar1 macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2011
    In the middle of the Rocky Mountains, for now.
    If you haven't swapped out the Apple RAM (4 or 8 GB) for a pair of 8GB RAM, I strongly urge you to do so. The performance bump (especially on the i7) is remarkable. Adding SSD drives is a 45 minute and delicate process; but the reward is so worth it. After you finish, no new Mac mini will touch your 2012 box.
  20. alexe macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2014
    I've never understood why people need to upgrade their phone and everything every damn year. I've used every Apple product I've ever bought for at least four years before I replaced it, mostly longer. There was just no need to replace.
  21. yaxomoxay, Mar 2, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2018

    yaxomoxay macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2010
    They don’t need. They want.
    And if they have worked all year long with honesty and integrity, they have all the rights to spend their money how they see fit. Some people spend on cars, other on phones, others on clothing etc.
  22. ItWasNotMe macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2012
    Ok, so this is an average across all products, but we will soon be getting to the point where this 'lifetime' is shorter than the time since the last refresh of the headless desktops :rolleyes:
  23. Isidore macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2004
  24. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    To be honest, I don't believe the ~4 years, all of my Apple stuff lasts (much) longer, my first Mac (a Pismo) lasted 8 years but it was heavily used in the tropics, was a beast at that time.
  25. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I normally reckon 3.5 Years for an iphone, unless you want to have something that just annoys you.

    My my 2005 G4 Powerbook, 2008 Mac Pro, 2012 iPad 4 and 2012 Macbook pro disagree with this guy's findings.

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